Nature Notes: Blackbird Nest

Back in June I noticed a male blackbird was spending a lot of time going in and out of a rose bush right next to my shed door.

It seemed a strange place to build a nest because we open and close the shed door a lot.

We hadn’t been in the garden for a few days because of the severe weather here in the UK, and that must have been when the blackbirds seized their moment.

When there were no birds in sight, I held a mirror over the nest. There were four eggs. Now, in July, there are at least three chicks in there, maybe even four.

This morning, I pointed the camera on maximum zoom into the darkness from ten feet away. This shaky photo is the result. I didn’t get in close in case they all jumped out.

At least one of the chicks was exercising wings for take off. I took the photo because by tomorrow they may have gone.

There are three chicks visible, two on the left, and one in the dark lower section on the right. That’s the mother keeping watch from the back.

While I was looking at the nest from a distance, a hedgehog strolled out of the undergrowth below the nest. There has never been a hedgehog in this garden before, and it’s surrounded by 6 foot high fences. I don’t know how hedgehogs arrive in places, but I’m sure they don’t fly. There must have always been a hedgehog, and I’ve just never seen it. The hedgehog had used the bad weather as an opportunity to get out.

It seems as though the cold wet summer has revived a bit of UK wildlife.

Update on July 27th. Or so it seemed. Last Friday, the 20th, the big rain swept through the south, 4 inches in 4 hours, which is nowhere near the record for these parts. However, it did lead to large floods up the road in Gloucestershire. Another casualty was one of the chicks, the one on the far right that was always last in the queue for food. In the evening I watched two chicks jump clear and wobble away on foot, and when I looked on Saturday, one dead chick remained in the  nest having died of starvation. Without the long period of rain, I’m sure it would have survived. Anyway, the new family hopped off and took residence behind the shed. A week on, there is no sign of them at all.

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